We are in the process of updating The King James Version (KJV) Bible. This will likely be a long process. You can follow our progress here.
The King James Version Updated (KJVu) is NOT a new translation. The KJV and its underlying Textus Receptus (Received Text) manuscripts are preserved.
Why Update the KJV?
I have used the KJV Bible all my saved life (since 1987), and am very comfortable with it. I trust the KJV and the underlying Textus Receptus manuscripts as accurately representing God’s Word.
I have seen studies using the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Indicator to make the case that the KJV is the easiest to read because it is written at the lowest grade level. This is based on the KJV using one or two syllable words while newer versions substitute complex multi-syllable words and phrases. There is some truth to this if the one or two syllable words are familiar. However, if the words are not familiar or used in an awkward sentence structure, then it will be more difficult to read - either real or perceived.
What I am finding is that many younger people, and quite frankly, the unsaved, are put off by the KJV. They claim it is difficult to read, using obscure words and unfamiliar sentence structures.
While I am very comfortable using the KJV, the trend has been for more people to move to other translations. According to Church Answers, KJV Bible sales have lagged behind the New International Version (NIV) for over a decade. While some may think that second place isn’t bad, consider just how many people are reading the KJV versus everything else.
In a 2014 Study the KJV was the favorite Bible of 55 percent of American Bible readers. In 2018 a similar study was done and it showed the KJV version was still the most read Bible, but the percentage dropped to 31%. The next closest translation was the NIV at 13%.
Again, on the surface this may not sound like a bad thing, but consider 45%-69% of Bible readers since 2014 are choosing to read something other than the KJV. With other translations out-selling the KJV, the KJV readership will likely continue to decline.
Further, in a 2022 study the KJV slipped from #2 down to #5. An observation from the article was "The biggest surprise is the drop in the King James Version from 2nd to 5th. It is a significant drop in just 18 months. If this ranking becomes normative, it behooves us to do a deeper dive to understand why this translation has fallen from favor for many Bible readers."
Some people in KJV churches will reference modern translations during their Bible study, most of which are based on, directly or indirectly, the work from Brooke Westcott and Fenton Hort (Westcott & Hort) using the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts. There are differences between the Textus Receptus and the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts. I and most every other KJV reader believe the Textus Receptus manuscripts are proven, time-tested, superior and the preserved Word of God.
There are modern bibles based on the Textus Receptus (such as the NKJV and MEV), but in many places they miss the mark. Some of the changes puzzle me as to why they were made. In some instances verses were changed that didn’t need to be changed; sometimes making them more difficult to read than the original KJV. I suspect this was done to generate ample changes so a copyright could be secured.
The purpose of this project is not to start a debate on the merits of modern translations. I have saved friends that use modern translations, but it is not the path I want to follow.
I have often wondered 'Why can’t there be an updated King James Version Bible that is not a new translation, but instead, updates the tried and true KJV Bible into modern English without breaking the doctrinal integrity of the KJV and Textus Receptus?'
I believe it can be done, hence the KJVu project.
The original 1611 translation of the King James Version (KJV) is still in place. The KJVu adheres to the following Guidelines:
Nothing can be added or subtracted as a result of the updates. Revelation 22:18-19 was taken very seriously when performing this update.
If it is not broken, don’t fix it. The bias will be to leave the verses alone as written in the 1611 translation. KJVu will NOT be copyrighted, thus there is no minimum number of changes sought in order to secure a copyright.
The update can not change the original meaning of the verse. The updated verse MUST have the same doctrinal meaning as the KJV verse.
On a one-for-one basis, archaic words, obscure words and words whose meaning have changed are updated with the equivalent words that are used today.
Strive to maintain sentence structure, where possible, so the original KJV and the KJVu can be used in services where the pastor is reading from the KJV and some members of the congregation are using the KJVu. However, in cases where the sentence structure is awkward and hinders the reading and comprehension of the scripture, the sentence structure is altered without changing the meaning of the verse.
Remove inanimate object gender assignments. Many languages assign genders to inanimate objects, plants, trees, etc. English does not do this. However, Hebrew does assign gender to inanimate objects, and the KJV attempts to make these assignments contrary to how English is spoken. For example, a portion of Genesis 1:11 KJV reads, "… the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind…" Here the fruit tree carries the Hebrew gender of male. KJVu removes the male gender by using "…it’s kind…" This is NOT done for people or God - these genders will always match what is in the KJV.
Update punctuation to add "quotes" around spoken words, and update the use of commas, periods, colons, et. al.
Americanize the spelling of certain words such as colour and labour. Also update the use of "a" and "an."
When a person reads a KJV Bible, they are updating the words in their mind as they read. When they are not familiar with a word, they will look it up. Consider the following examples:
Example 1: “And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” - Genesis 3:11 KJV
The meaning the reader comprehends in their mind is:
And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat from?" - Genesis 3:11 KJVu
Example 2: “Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.” - Luke 17:9 KJV
Many people would not know what the archaic word trow meant, so they would look it up and reread the sentence as such:
“Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.” - Luke 17:9 KJVu
Request For Fellow Laborers
I am looking for people that love the KJV and want to make it available to those that will not read it in its present form.
To ensure the doctrinal integrity of the KJVu, I need many skeptical eyes on the work to ensure no doctrinal changes inadvertently slip through.
I hope to get several knowledgeable KJV-Only people involved - I realize this is a paradox. But surely there are some out there that can see the need.
I pray that some of you would prayerfully consider providing feedback to the project. See my contact page to learn how you can participate in the project.
I welcome anyone wanting to contribute to the project on an anonymous basis, please use one of the methods listed on the contact page above to direct message me.
For additional information on the project, please see the About page.